In most circumstances atmospheric pressure is closely approximated by the hydrostatic pressure caused by the weight of air above the measurement point.
On a given plane, low-pressure areas have less atmospheric mass above their location, whereas high-pressure areas have more atmospheric mass above their location.
Likewise, as elevation increases, there is less overlying atmospheric mass, so that atmospheric pressure decreases with increasing elevation.
On average, a column of air one square centimeter in cross-section, measured from sea level to the top of the atmosphere, has a mass of about 1.03 kg and weight of about 10.1 N.
Standard atmospheric pressure
The standard atmosphere (symbol: atm) is a unit of pressure equal to 101325 Pa or 1013.25 millibars or hectopascals. It is equivalent to 760 mmHg (torr), 29.92 inHg, 14.696 psi.
One atmosphere (101 kPa or 14.7 psi) is the pressure caused by the weight of a column of fresh water of approximately 10.3 m (33.8 ft).
Thus, a diver 10.3 m underwater experiences a pressure of about 2 atmospheres (1 atm of air plus 1 atm of water). This is the maximum height to which a column of water can be drawn up by suction at atmospheric pressure.